Storage 24 (2012)
★ / ★★★★
Workers in a London storage facility hear a loud explosion and experience an accompanying tremor. Curious as to what is going on, they look outside and notice a building from a couple of yards away emitting black smoke. To one of the workers’ surprise and horror, a jet engine lay on top of his car. Television reports claim that a military cargo plane crash has just occurred. Being so close to the incident, the storage building has gone on automatic lockdown. Unbeknownst to the people still inside, there is a giant container with slime that is wide open. It is assumed to have fallen out of the plane and the creature that was once inside has made it through the vents.
Directed by Johannes Roberts, “Storage 24” feels like a twenty-fourth entry in a film series because pretty much everything about it emanates a dearth of inspiration. While it does have humor so it is not always one note, the scenes designed to build tension lack patience and creativity. The scares, too, leave a lot to be desired.
There is a glimmer of hope because the screenplay seems to welcome comedy amidst the characters attempting to survive against a creature that kills indiscriminately. I enjoyed some of the sarcastic dialogue between Charlie (Noel Clark) and Mark (Colin O’Donoghue), best friends, especially when the former feels the need to vent about his recent break-up with Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Hughes). It is easy to relate to Mark because many of us have been in a situation where we listen to someone else who keeps talking about the same topic because it is our obligation to be polite.
But as the minutes trickle away, it becomes increasingly noticeable that the monster is not given time to be interesting. Instead, the first half is essentially a relationship drama with Charlie asking and begging Shelley to give him a list of things that went wrong in their relationship. It turns into an utter bore despite the would-be twist. Clark has a charming presence but his character at times is such a drag.
When a story involves a monster on the loose, it should always be engaging. When it is not, it is a meteoric sign that something is very wrong. One of the biggest problems is that we learn nothing about the organism. In movies like John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” the creature is fascinating not because of its ability to slice open people. We are horrified of it because of its unthinkable ability to mimic the appearances of humans and animals. What we fear is not only the creature in its original form but also the possibility that it has killed and transformed into someone that is considered a friend. In here, the monster goes through ducts, grabs people, and kills them. What makes this creature worthy of our time? Substitute an unstoppable serial killer like Michael Myers in place of the monster and it does not make much of a difference.
Its formulaic nature began to get under my skin eventually. Must the lights turn off and on during and after, respectively, the supposed scares occur? It bleeds of suffocating typicality that the characters are shown walking or running into dark rooms asking, “Hello? Is someone in here?” One can count the number of beats like clockwork until the Boo! moment. When it arrives, we wonder why they even bother.